Weather Translations

I have been in the West for over 17 years now but I still don't get the weather. Growing up in the Midwest, if it was cloudy it was most likely going to rain. Here in the West it's still probably not going to rain if there are clouds about.

The other day I had noticed we had a 20% chance of rain. So I took my umbrella to work, sure that it would be raining when I left. No such luck. Beautifully clear and blue with a few wispy white clouds.

Then it hit me. The weather forecaster reports the weather differently in the Midwest than in the West.

Here's the translation for 20% chance of rain.

In the West: There's a 20% chance that rain will hit 20% of the Wasatch front. The rest of the valley will be in sunshine.

In the Midwest: To begin with it's never 20%, it's usually 40% or more. And that just means that it's going to rain for at least 40% of the day.

And those translation differences are causing me havoc in this wet spring. I'm still working on the Midwest weather reporting when I should be using the Western style. Whenever I see rain in the forecast I expect it to rain. And occasionally it does. I'm expecting to finally make the change in my mind probably around 2030. Until then just take my insistence of rain like the village listened to the Boy calling Wolf.


Lonita said...

You know, I've been having the same weather interpretation problems, but the opposite way. I've seen lots of 40% chances of rain, only to be surprised when we get rain 100% of the time, for hours at a time. Hmm, maybe I should move west.

sally said...

Lonita you should definitely move west!! Donna I'm glad to know I have to exact same problem. The clouds move so quickly through that sometimes we don't get any rain but when I try to plan anything we get hailed on!!

Urban Parks said...

It took me a couple of years in Las Vegas to realize that 10% chance of rain means 10% of the valley will see rain or even that we will see rain coming from the clouds, but not reaching the ground.

Krissie said...

I totally know what you mean! Also, if it is raining where you are and you go out, if you drive for like 3 minutes, you are out of the rain! I never felt before that I could drive out of the rain...it's a crazy feeling!

Midwestern Gone Idahoan said...

too funny!!!

Okay - how do you get your blog post to get on twitter?!?